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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

Why do some microorganisms cause disease, yet others don’t?  This course explores host-pathogen interactions from bacterial, fungal, parasite, viral and host perspectives in a lecture series, examining virulence factors, host defences and immune responses.   Students develop a detailed knowledge of one specific host-pathogen interaction through self-directed study and review of a specific disease selected by the student.  In addition, workshops discuss experimental design for analysis of host-pathogen interactions, virulence and novel drug treatments.  The material on the course will enable students to develop and refine their understanding of the roles of host and pathogen in infectious disease.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Donna MacCallum

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • One of Master Of Science In Molecular Medicine or MSc Immunology or Master Of Science In Immunology And Immunotherapy or MSc Microbiology

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course will explore host-pathogen interactions, examining the relationships from both host and pathogen perspectives.  Topics covered will include fungal, bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases, host responses to disease causing agents, as well as clinical therapies.  The course also aims to explore experimental design for analysis of host-pathogen interactions in workshops.

The course will be research-led and will focus on up-to-date research, exposing students to a stimulating and challenging learning environment.  The course aims to increase student’s understanding of host-pathogen interactions, clinical therapeutics and drug discovery, and experimental design.

The course also aims to encourage development of student critical thinking, through evaluation of literature and writing a major essay on a disease chosen by the student, and to develop personal and transferable skills to equip students for the research or other work environment.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Lecture during University weeks 27, 29, 31, 34
  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 25 - 33

More Information about Week Numbers

Summative Assessments

Continuous assessment (70%): Major essay (3000 words) (40%) and a written report based upon material covered in workshops (20%), infographic presentation of essay material (peer assessed) (10%) Examination (30%): written exam.

Formative Assessment

Students receive formative feedback during workshops on their approaches to experimental design.  They can also receive feedback when writing identifying subject material for their self-directed essay topic.


All submitted work via MyAberdeen will be annotated with feedback comments and a rubric used to indicate areas where the student performed well and where improvement can be made.  In addition, for each assessment, specific feedback on how to achieve higher marks will be submitted in the feedback to learner box in MyAberdeen

Course Learning Outcomes


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